2015 NFL Compensatory Draft Picks

The compensatory picks for the upcoming NFL Draft were announced yesterday, with a total of 32 picks being dished out to 14 different teams.

Of those 32 picks, only three went to teams with losing records from last season, with the Carolina Panthers receiving fifth- and sixth-round picks, and the St Louis Rams a sixth-round pick. This provides further evidence that seeking a quick fix via free agency rarely, if ever, works, as the most successful sides in the NFL clearly do not indulge heavily in shopping in March.

The exact formula for awarding compensatory draft picks is a closely guarded secret, but ultimately it rewards teams for losing players via free agency, and then weighs that up against the players that were brought in by the franchises via the same source. Signing players cut by the other franchises does not count against a team’s compensatory draft picks.

Though the picks are at the end of their respective rounds and cannot be traded, they give savvy GMs the ammunition they need to replenish depleted rosters, and given that the NFL’s most successful teams tend to be built through the draft rather than free agency, the top teams are usually well represented in the allocation.

The Kansas City Chiefs have hit the jackpot this season, receiving the max allocation of four picks, including a third-round selection, whilst the New England Patriots and Cincinnati Bengals will also benefit from an additional pick in the third round.

The Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks were also rewarded with a full complement of four draft picks, whilst the Baltimore Ravens and Houston Texans both picked up an extra three picks.

Perennial playoff contenders, the Ravens have accrued a league-high 44 compensatory draft picks since the system was implemented in 1994, a total of nine more than the Green Bay Packers, who have the next highest haul. It’s also important to remember that the Ravens didn’t even come into existence until 1996.

General Manager Ozzie Newsome runs the Ravens like an efficient production line. He is not afraid to pay big to retain key stars, but he also refuses to overpay replaceable talent and/or make big splashes in free agency. He then reaps the rewards with compensatory draft picks 12 months later. Year after year, Newsome plays it cool in March and his team benefits as a result in January.


(Photo Credit – EDrost88, flickr)

Seattle is another team worth watching closely in the offseason, as the Seahawks have made a name for themselves by finding serviceable talent late in the draft in recent years. Their four compensatory picks this year consist of a fourth-, a fifth- and two sixth-round selections, and given GM John Schneider’s recent track record, expect him to turn those picks into contributors.

Both teams are good models for how to ‘win’ the offseason, but obviously compensatory picks don’t mean too much if you can’t hit on the players you draft, an area where Newsome and Schneider have had consistent success.

Of course, both teams having franchise quarterbacks under center is as an important factor as any, but the jobs Newsome and Schneider do to surround those players with talent, on both sides of the ball, is commendable.

The full list of compensatory draft picks for the 2015 NFL Draft can be found below.

Kansas City Chiefs – 3rd round (98), 5th round (172), 5th round (173), 6th round (217)

Denver Broncos – 4th round (133), 6th round (208), 7th round (250), 7th round (251)

Seattle Seahawks – 4th round (134), 5th round (170), 6th round (209), 6th round (214)

Baltimore Ravens – 4th round (136), 5th round (171), 5th round (175)

Houston Texans – 5th round (174), 6th round (211), 6th round (216)

New England Patriots – 3rd round (97), 7th round (253)

Cincinnati Bengals – 3rd round (99), 4th round (135)

San Francisco 49ers – 4th round (132), 7th round (254)

Carolina Panthers – 5th round (169), 6th round (213)

Green Bay Packers – 6th round (210), 6th round (212)

St. Louis Rams – 6th round (215)

Pittsburgh Steelers – 7th round (252)

Indianapolis Colts – 7th round (255)

Arizona Cardinals – 7th round (256)


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